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How accurate is Victoria's tale of The Duchess of Buccleuch?

Dame Diana Rigg plays the formidable new Lady in Waiting, but what was the Duchess and Victoria’s relationship really like?

Published: Monday, 18th March 2019 at 12:54 pm

Dame Diana Rigg joins the cast of Victoria series 2 as the Duchess of Buccleuch, a formidable new Lady in Waiting who takes up her position at Buckingham Palace under a new Conservative government.


The pair don’t exactly seem to click at first, but their real-life tale is rather different - as is the real Duchess of Buccleuch's real tale.

Who was the Duchess of Buccleuch?

Charlotte Anne Montagu Douglas Scott was born Lady Charlotte Anne Thynne in Longleat, Wiltshire on 10 April 1811. She was the youngest daughter of Thomas Thynne the 2nd Marquess of Bath.

In March 1829 she married the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott and received her title.

Hold on, doesn't that make her a lot younger than Diana Rigg's character?

Yes. Yes it does. The real-life Duchess was only in her 30s when she served Queen Victoria.

Chances are - as with all TV shows - they've made some minor changes to make a more entertaining story. And when it means someone as wonderful as Diana Rigg can play the character you can't really complain too much...

How did the Duchess of Buccleuch become Mistress of The Robes?

In the TV series Robert Peel seems hesitant about Victoria’s choice of lady to replace Harriet Sutherland as Mistress of the Robes, but in real life he was the one who chose the Duchess to become a member of his newly formed ministry.

Her husband (who was very much alive) became Lord Privy Seal from 1842 to 1846, an appointment that provided many advantages for the pair and their extended family.

What does the Mistress of The Robes actually do?

It's a fancy name for the chief lady in the Queen's household. The Mistress of the Robes would have originally looked after the monarch's clothes and jewellery. Nowadays the lady in question - Queen Elizabeth's Mistress of The Robes is Ann Fortune FitzRoy, Dowager Duchess of Grafton - is responsible for arranging the rota of attendance of the ladies-in-waiting on the queen, along with various duties at state ceremonies.

Did Queen Victoria and The Duchess of Buccleuch get along?

Diana Rigg’s Duchess seems to irk the young Queen Victoria at first but in real life the pair became firm friends. Victoria actually described her as an “agreeable, sensible, clever little person”. The Duchess helped advise the young queen ahead of her visit to Scotland in 1842.

The Queen was also godmother to one of her dear friend's children, named Lady Victoria for the monarch. She was given a watercolour painting of the Duchess and her daughter as a gift.


And The Duchess's daughter in law, Louisa, was also selected to be Mistress of The Robes in 1858.


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